5 Different Types of Shoreline Protection

shoreline protection

Rocks and reinforced concrete have been majorly used for shoreline protection. These materials were used because they are capable of withstanding the massive force of wave action.

However, modern advancements have led to the introduction of reliable stabilization methods like seawalls, revetments, and many others.

The purpose of this article is to discuss 5 major types of shoreline protection methods. These methods are:

1. Seawalls

Seawalls can be built with a variety of construction materials like granite masonry or concrete. They are typically built along shorelines to prevent or minimize damage to the coastal areas from the heavy force of the ocean waves.

The construction of the seawalls can be divided into 3 major categories depending on their arrangements:

a. Curved-Face Seawall

Curved face seawall is meant to protect the shoreline from high wave action efforts. It plays a critical role in preventing the loss of foundation materials that is usually caused by high waves.

Moreover, stones are used to construct the toe of the curved face seawall to prevent scouring.

b. Stepped-Face Seawall

If a shoreline is getting affected by moderate wave actions, then building a stepped-face seawall is a highly effective technique of preventing the shoreline. Reinforced concrete is used to construct stepped-face seawall.

Moreover, few spaces left between the piles are filled with grout or some suitable geotextile fibre to strengthen the sand barrier.

Installing geotextile using this method is typically considered to be highly useful because it provides extra stability. Moreover, geotextile makes sure more water is allowed to seep through to prevent hydrostatic pressure.

c. Rubber-Mound Seawalls

A rubber-mound seawall is the easiest type of seawall to build shoreline protection. It is much more cost-effective than curved-face seawall and stepped-face seawall. Moreover, it has a very easy configuration.

It is built to resist both moderate and strong wave actions. Even though it can get scoured on the front side, constructors can easily readjust it to maximize its efficiency without damaging the structures.


2. Bulkheads

Steel, timber, and concrete can be utilized to build bulkheads. There are two main types of bulkheads, namely gravity structures and anchored sheet pile walls.

Even though bulkheads are not fully suitable to handle strong wave actions, they are very useful in retaining earth by carefully considering the scouring at the base of such structures.

Cellular sheet pile bulkheads are used in shorelines where rocks are located near the surfaces and penetration is not strong enough to reach the anchored bulkhead.

Experts suggest reinforcing the sheet piles to prevent bending, hydrostatic pressures, and other such undesirable soil conditions.


3. Groins

The purpose of groins is to protect shorelines from erosion by modifying the offshore current and wave patterns.

They can be constructed with materials like concrete, stone, steel, and timber. Moreover, groins are divided into different categories on the basis of length, permeability, and height.

The arrangement of the groins can greatly vary from shorelines to shorelines.

Generally, they are constructed vertically to the shoreline to maximize their efficiency and protect the shorelines. The overall structure can either be permeable or impermeable.


4. Jetties

Concrete, steel, stone, timber, and asphalt are typically used to build jetties. The entire structure is developed at the harbour entrance and stretched into deep water to resist the formation of sandbars.

Moreover, jetties are capable of limiting the strength of the currents to a considerable level which plays an important role in protecting the shorelines.


5. Breakwater

Offshore, rubber-mound, and shore-connected are important types of breakwater. Their purpose is to protect the shore area and harbour from strong waves.

Moreover, they create a safe and secure environment for the operation and handling of the ships.


Selecting a Suitable Method of Shoreline Protection

In order to select a suitable method of shoreline protection, it is important to have an excellent understanding of the coastal area in which shoreline protection is needed.

It is typically a complex process of understanding the interaction between different elements of the coastal environment.



All of these factors play a critical role in not only selecting a suitable shoreline protection method but also designing the foundations of such structures to optimize their efficiency.

Experts also use their knowledge in geology to study the nearby areas and find out how the behaviour of the surrounding surfaces will affect the shoreline in the future.

Factors like erosion, wave actions, and the impact of the changing climate are typically kept in mind before implementing any shoreline protection measure.